A European Model Law for the Promotion of Tolerance and the Suppression of Intolerance

1. The European Model Law for the Promotion of Tolerance and the Suppression of Intolerance has been originally adopted in 2012 – under the sponsorship of the ECTR -by a small Group of Experts consisting of five scholars from different countries and from diverse backgrounds: Prof. Yoram Dinstein (Professor Emeritus of International Law and Human Rights, Tel Aviv University, Israel) (Chair); Dr. Ugo Gensio (retired Judge, Italian Supreme Court); Prof. Rein Mullerson (Rector, University Nord, Talinn, Estonia); Prof. Daniel Thürer (Professor Emeritus of International and European Law, University of Zurich. Switzerland); and Prof. Rȕdiger Wolfrum (Director, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public law and International Law, Heidelberg, Germany). The original text has been revised in light of the conclusions of an international conference on Tolerance and the Law convened in Heidelberg in February 2015.

2. The Model Law is designed for adoption by the respective national legislatures of European States. Its purpose is to fill a vacuum: although all European States are committed to the principle of tolerance, nowhere is this principle defined in binding legal terms. The principal challenge in preparing the Model Statute was to go beyond rhetoric and generalities, spelling out concrete and enforceable obligations that ensure tolerance and stamp out intolerance.

3. On the 16th of October 2012 the ECTR has organized a public presentation of the Model Law in Brussels. The presentation included experts from EU Institutions, politicians, journalists, NGO leaders. The Model Law was presented by both Co-Chairmen of the ECTR and Prof. Yoram Dinstein, Chair of the ECTR Task Force.

4. In 2012 the ECTR carried out consultations on the Model Statute with The Council of Europe and the European Commission against Racism and Tolerance in Strasbourg, France. In November 2012 the ECTR organized together with the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the OSCE a seminar in Warsaw, Poland in order to consult and discuss with OSCE experts the provisions of the Model Statute.

5. Subsequently, the Law has been presented inter alia to the European Parliament in Brussels (LIBE Committee); Parliaments in Hungary, Italy, Croatia, and Estonia. It was also presented to the Round Table of Speakers of Parliaments in Prague (Czech Republic) in January 2015. The Speakers adopted the Prague Declaration on combating Anti-Semitism and hate crimes. The Roundtable recommended the establishment of an inter-parliamentarian Working Group to draft legal proposals strengthening tolerance and combating various forms of hatred and incitement to hatred in the spirit of this Declaration.

6.The Model Statute is replete with innovations. It can be helpful in addressing the problems of extremism and intolerance in European societies. The ECTR expresses hope that the various national legislatures of European States will show their readiness to analyze and adopt it where appropriate.

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